Two Burgess Hill School for Girls riders compete at British Dressage Nationals

Johanna Lawless
Johanna Lawless

Two members of the Burgess Hill School for Girls Equestrian Team competed at the British Dressage National Championship in mid April, having qualified through regional competitions; Sarah Rogers (entered at Novice Level) and Johanna Lawless (Prelim Level), both of whom are Year 11 students.

Sarah was competing at a higher level than in previous years so she was under no illusion that the standard would be incredibly high! Sarah had a chance to familiarise her pony Lady, at 6.40am before the main competition started, so an early but exciting start to the day!

Lady warmed up for her test beautifully, remaining relaxed and calm in a very busy arena (she was the smallest pony in her class!). The test started brilliantly, earning several 7s and 8s from all 3 judges but unfortunately, Lady became tense in the walk work and jogged for several steps earning 2s and 3s which knocked them out of the placings this year.

Mrs Rogers said “I was extremely impressed with Sarah’s mature reaction to the disappointment; I believe the school has had a significant impact into helping her develop these coping skills.”

Johanna and DJ worked together beautifully on both days. Unfortunately the atmosphere in the competition arena was too much for DJ. Although she didn’t put a foot wrong, she was very tense and Johanna did a wonderful job keeping her under control. The atmosphere at such an event was a tremendous experience for Johanna and DJ.

Johanna and Sarah both relished the experience of competing at the same venue as Britain’s international riders and sharing the stables with some of the country’s top horses.